Note this club was the old Mediasound Studios (excerpt from Mix Online Magazine) by Bobby Blank: "Bob Clearmountain, Godfrey Diamond, Michael Barbiero, Michael Delugg, Harvey Goldberg, Joe Ferla, Jeff Lesser, Alec Head, Bill Stein, Ron Saint Germain, Michael Brauer, Don Wershba, Ed Stasium, Gregg Mann, Carl Beatty, Kol Marshall, Lincoln Clapp, Joe Jorgensen, Alan Varner, Doug Epstein, Liz Saron, Trudy Schroder, Ramona Janquitto, Ron Dante, Charlie Calello, Tony Bongiovi — these are just some of the names that became the nucleus of Mediasound.
In New York City, from the close of the '60s through the birth and death of disco, Mediasound was a hit machine. Founded by Harry Hirsch, with assistance from Bob Walters and financial/business backing from owners Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts, Mediasound opened in June 1969 at 311 West 57th St. in the heart of Manhattan. Once home to the Manhattan Baptist Church, today the site is occupied by Providence (formerly the trendy Le Bar Bat), where you can still see the Gold Records on the wall. The live room, home to the hits, with, from left, the late Joe Jorgensen, chief engineer Fred Christie and founder Harry Hirsch The original idea came out of a random talk between Hirsch and Walters, who then went looking for money. “There were many 4-track studios in New York City,” recalls Roseman. “There was room for a state-of-the-art facility, one that could handle any kind of recording, tape copies, mastering — so we decided to change the scope of the idea. We went from the original $100,000 investment to over $1 million. It took a very long time to find the space, but Harry Hirsch found the Baptist church on 57th Street.”
“I will always be grateful to John Roberts, Joel Roseman and Bob Walters,” Hirsch says, “who listened when I told them, ‘I found a church from heaven on 57th Street,’ and trusted me to design, build and be its first president.”
A contemplative Barry Manilow in the live room. Producer Ron Dante: “I brought in my new recording artist Barry Manilow to record his second album—the one that included our first breakthrough million-seller ‘Mandy.’ Right away we knew that Mediasound was the place to make the best-sounding records in the business.” Bob Clearmountain (Kool & The Gang, Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor and countless others) was handpicked to change the light bulbs 40 feet up in the cathedral ceiling. "I was the only one nuts enough to go up there!" he recalls.
Producer Ron Dante with Pat Benatar. Dante: "Being in Mediasound always made you feel like you were about to create a hit."
Tony Bongiovi, front, seen here with Trini Lopez in 1978, at Power Station
The owners, at Woodstock '94, 25 years after the original: Joel Roseman (L) and the late John Roberts